Do the people who used to live in your house affect your credit score?
Being rejected for credit is frustrating. Could the people who lived in your house before you be to blame?
Moved house recently? It’s stressful isn’t it? Packing up, unpacking, losing things, finding them, then losing them again. Phew - we’re tired just thinking about it!
The previous occupiers may have left you lots of things – manky food in the fridge, dodgy carpets and, if you’re lucky, even the lightbulbs. But have they saddled your address with a debt problem?
The last thing you want to find out once you’ve finally unpacked all of the boxes is that the previous occupiers are being chased for debts they haven’t paid. Not only could you be getting post for them, you might even have debt collectors knocking at the door.
We know what you’re thinking. Is that why I’ve been rejected for credit? Could my address be blacklisted? Why do things like this always happen to me?!
Relax! You have absolutely nothing to worry about.
Your credit score is based on you, and only you.
Even if the previous people were the worst borrowers ever, your credit score won’t be affected by them.
Wherever they go, their debts go with them. So you can say adios!
But I’ve been declined for credit, can I be sure it’s not because of the people who lived here before me?
It’s not them, we promise! The best way to find out why you’ve been declined is to check your credit file. You can do this for free here:
Your file paints a picture of your financial situation, so make sure it’s all correct. If it isn’t, that could be why you’ve been rejected. It’s got nothing to do with anyone else.
You can find out how to correct any mistakes on it here and see some easy ways to start improving it here.
Why all the grief then?!
If the previous occupier did have debts they haven’t paid, they may have “forgotten” to update their lenders, or whoever’s chasing the debt, with their new address.
Either way, the lenders will use the most recent address they have on file to chase the debt – unfortunately, it could be yours.
What do I do?
You might get threatening-looking letters addressed to the previous tenants chasing the debt. Don’t open them (it’s illegal to open someone else’s post!), just pop them back in the post box marked ‘Return to sender, addressee no longer here’. Eventually the lenders should get the picture.
You may even get debt collectors or bailiffs knocking on your door. If you do, show them some ID and let them know the person they’re after no longer lives there. Although it’s scary having people rock up on your doorstep, legally they can’t do anything or take anything from you.
Hang on, what if I share a house with other people?
Whether it’s your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, grown-up kid, friend or weird housemate you never speak to - unless you have a financial association with them, they won’t impact your credit score either.
A financial association is someone you have a joint debt with. This could be a loan, mortgage, credit agreement or bank account. You’re both responsible for it, which means that you’re financially linked.
This will be reflected on your credit score, so the way they manage their finances could have an impact on yours.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.